Navy Robocopters Hunt Down Pirates
April 9, 2012 5:14 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Walt Disney)
"Get me to the chopper!" -- new UAVs combined LADAR, infrared and traditional HD imaging
The U.S. Navy's
is armed to the teeth with the latest in
high-tech surveillance gadgets
. Equipped with a Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS) -- a package of HD cameras, mid-range infrared sensors and LADAR; a 3D mapping device that utilizes a long-range, high-res, eye-safe laser -- the robocopter, christened "Fire Scout", will patrol the high seas hunting for pirates.
Piracy has increasingly become a headache for industrialized nations -- and a chief priority for the
. The problem is that pirates typically pirate small, hard-to-detect ships, but have created huge disruptions hijacking fuel tankers and other pricey cargo in hopes of a ransom.
Many of the pirates come from impoverished regions like Somalia, which border shipping lanes from the Middle East.
The new copter is a possible solution, cooked up by the
Office of Naval Research
Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department
Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
Ken Heeke, ONR NAWWD program officer describes Fire Scout, stating, "Sailors who control robotic systems can become overloaded with data, often sifting through hours of streaming video searching for a single ship. The automatic target recognition software gives Fire Scout the ability to distinguish target boats in congested coastal waters using LADAR, and it sends that information to human operators, who can then analyze those vessels in a 3-D picture."
LADAR in action -- step 1, ship is spotted by system. [Image Source: Utah State Univ.]
LADAR in action -- step 2, the algorithms spot the ship in 3D. [Image Source: Utah State Univ.]
Dean Cook, principal investigator at the ONR NAWCWD adds, "The 3-D data gives you a leg up on target identification. Infrared and visible cameras produce 2-D pictures, and objects in them can be difficult to automatically identify. With LADAR data, each pixel corresponds to a 3-D point in space, so the automatic target recognition algorithm can calculate the dimensions of an object and compare them to those in a database."
The LADAR system is being
[PDF] in collaboration with
Utah State University
, a key academic partner.
More work has to be done testing-wise before this super-copter can get down to business battling the pirate masses. The algorithms have been tested by land-based systems
naval vessels, but the first air-to-naval tests will be conducted with a BRITE Star II turret aboard a larger manned helicopter.
If those tests go well, Fire Scout should be almost ready to take to the air, and pirates ought to be shaking in their boots.
Aside from pirates, the U.S. Navy is looking to use drone scouts for a variety of other
advanced sea warfare purposes
ONR [press release]
Utah State [LADAR PDF]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/10/2012 8:33:22 PM
My dad is a Somalian pirate. Wah.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
The Navy Unveils "Cicada": Now Even the Drones Have Drones
January 2, 2012, 6:36 PM
USMC Testing Unmanned Helicopter in Afghanistan
January 2, 2012, 8:30 AM
Sub-Launched "Switchblade" Drone Helps Guide U.S. Subs to Better Kills
December 26, 2011, 2:48 PM
Nail Polish May Soon be Able to Detect Date Rape Drugs
August 26, 2014, 7:57 AM
SpaceX Falcon 9-R Rocket Suffers Malfunction, Self-Destructs During Test Flight
August 23, 2014, 9:36 AM
Texas Chosen as Site for SpaceX's First Commercial Launchpad
August 5, 2014, 1:44 PM
South Carolina Prison Finds Crashed Drone Carrying Drugs, Phones
August 1, 2014, 2:49 PM
NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Gains Seven New Instruments for Exploration
August 1, 2014, 1:30 PM
NASA Opportunity Rover Breaks Record for Most Miles Traveled on Another Planet
July 29, 2014, 1:38 PM
Most Popular Articles
HTC Preps Nexus 9 With Nvidia K1 64-Bit "Denver" SoC, Android L Onboard
September 10, 2014, 10:21 PM
Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Reviews Roll In
September 16, 2014, 9:13 PM
Big Media: If You Want Privacy, You're Probably a Pirate
September 18, 2014, 2:57 PM
Apple Cripples NFC in iPhone 6, 6+ With Developer Ban
September 17, 2014, 1:00 PM
Home Depot Credit Card Theft is the Biggest in History, 55 Million Cards Stolen
September 18, 2014, 7:53 PM
Latest Blog Posts
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information